NSW energy storage market could boom as Solar Bonus payments wind down at end of 2016

by Giles Parkinson on 16 July, 2015

in Solar Choice News,Batteries & Energy Storage,NSW

Changes to rooftop solar tariffs in New South Wales could see the state become a leader in the uptake of residential battery storage, as 160,000 solar households prepare to lose the premium tariff for their solar output.

A new graph from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation has revealed there are around 160,000 households in NSW that are currently receiving a premium tariff of 60c/kWh for their solar output (plus a retailer bonus), and these tariffs will finish in January 2017.By then, the solar systems they installed will have paid for themselves. The question for these household then becomes, what to do with the surplus electricity produced by the arrays, particularly given that tariffs are only voluntary, or around 6c/Wh or 8c/kWh at best?

Battery storage may be an answer. The graph from Simon Brooker, executive director of corporate and project finance for the Clean Energy Finance Corp, suggests that the returns could be quite good, and that battery storage added to rooftop solar systems will still be competitive and even beat grid-based tariffs.

Battery storage potential NSW

Even these assumptions could be seen to be conservative, given that battery storage prices are likely to fall well below $1,300/kWh – particularly by the end of next year.

“We are not talking 40c/kWh or 50c/kWh. We are talking much more interesting numbers,” Brooker noted.Inline image 1

UBS analyst David Leitch told the conference that there was huge potential for cost reductions in battery storage, given that battery cells and storage systems were being sold in China for under $200/kWh, yet were being sold for nearly 10 times the price in Australia. That meant there were huge potential for falls along the value chain.

Morgan Stanley analyst Rob Koh said the key for battery storage take-up would also be on the structure of tariffs set by utilities, including time of use tariffs, the level of fixed and locked in payments, and newly mooted capacity payments.

© 2015 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Giles Parkinson

Giles Parkinson

Giles Parkinson regularly contributes unique content to Solar Choice News. Giles is the founder and editor of clean energy industry news service RenewEconomy. He is a journalist of 30 years experience, a former Business Editor and Deputy Editor of the Financial Review, a columnist for The Bulletin magazine and The Australian, and the founding editor of Climate Spectator.
Giles Parkinson

{ 2 comments }

Peter Harrison 2 October, 2015 at 12:03 pm

A small correction to the comment on retailer bonus in paragraph two of the main article.
My solar PV system was receiving 60 c/kW.h from the NSW Government plus 6 c/kW.h from my retailer (Origin Energy). The NSW then changed the FiT to be 54 c/kW.h with the retailer making up the remaining 6 c/kW.h to get back to 60 c/kW.h. The NSW government argued at the time that it was not breaking any promise, just ‘economising’ while still ensuring that the consumer received the promised 60 c/kW.h.
The figures of 54 and 6 may be slightly out, but they totalled 60!

Sue 1 November, 2015 at 3:35 pm

Energy Australia did the same. We got 2 contradictory letters weeks apart but in the end it went to .60c I think Energy Australia did a number on us all but made it look like they were still rewarding us. Definitely interested in storage asap.

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